law Uncategorized

‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ at Supreme Court

It looks like free speech may win out after all. Just brilliant how such a ridiculous example went all the way to SCotUS and will now, in a sense, become a banner case (sorry, had to) for free speech.

From the Reuters article:

In its first major student free-speech rights case in almost 20 years, U.S. Supreme Court justices struggled on Monday with how far schools can go in censoring students.

In a case involving a Juneau, Alaska, high school student suspended for unfurling a banner that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus,” several justices seemed wary about giving a principal too much authority at the expense of the student’s right to express his views.

“It’s political speech, it seems to me. I don’t see what it disrupts,” a skeptical Justice David Souter said.

“And no one was smoking pot in that crowd,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, referring to the group of students standing near the banner as the Winter Olympic torch relay passed by in January 2002.

Read the whole article.

Further insight on the case here, here and here.


Modest Mouse Does it Again

Pick it up now. I’m still in review mode on this, but, it has me flashing back to Pitchfork’s 2000 laying down the gauntlet with the death-wish branding 9.8 rating (on the heel’s of Kid A‘s death-defying 10.0) on Moon and Antarctica back in 2000.

They’ve moved on, and keep moving up.

After hearing many of these songs last November at The Wilshire, I’m elated to hear far-tighter studio versions. Modest Mouse’s evolution continues and a bridge has been crossed with We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, but the water keeps rising.

Some day you will die and somehow something’s going to steal your carbon

media Uncategorized

Dan Rather’s Keynote at SXSWi

Though I wasn’t at South by Southwest, I can now tell you that this keynote speech was rather extraordinary. Among other things, Dan Rather suggested (as posted earlier) that perhaps journalism has “in some ways lost its guts” in recent years and is in need of “a spine transplant.” Alot of emotion poured into this keynote (with questions from firedoglake‘s Jane Hamsher) and quite worth listening to the entire hour. There’s more audio from this year’s SXSWi sessions here.

Press “play” to listen.

internet law Los Angeles media Uncategorized

Perez Hilton Was Scheduled to Speak at Annenberg?

perez hilton with pink hairI’m befuddled to learn that a March 28 lunchtime discussion at USC Annenberg with Perez Hilton (aka Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr.) was not canceled by the school, but by Hilton himself.

It’s not mandatory to hold one’s blogging standards up to the those embedded in the rigid ethics taught at a Journalism and Communication school, but inviting someone so painfully lacking in journalistic integrity to speak as a role model to an admiring student body?

I’m pretty sure Annenberg didn’t invite Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass after they were unceremoniously canned for their breaches of journalistic integrity.

The students who would have filled Room 207 at Annenberg for this event may not have been aware that Hilton is the defendant in an ongoing $7.6M copyright infringement lawsuit. While I’m a strong proponent of fair use, and believe copyright rules need to be revised for the digital age, Hilton’s fair use defense doesn’t stand a chance. He stole copyrighted, non-Commons-licensed photos from multiple journalists, bloggers, news agencies and photographers alike and re-used them on his hugely popular (and profitable) Web site. More recently, he was sued for posting topless photos of Jennifer Aniston.

Had he not been too chicken to show up (and I hope he reconsiders) I would give my colleagues the opportunity to ask as many questions as they want: how does it feel to party with Paris and Linds? OMG what are you gonna wear when you host MTV’s Australian Music Video Awards? After all, it was billed not as a discussion on journalistic ethics but as “An Insider’s Take on Celebrity Culture, Blogging, and Gays in Hollywood.”

But I sure hope I wouldn’t be the only one (I’d wait until the end of the hour) to out him as a decent model for snuffing out gossip and aspiring young celeb-bloggers, but an even better example of journalism-gone-wrong and how ethics and laws still apply as equally to the blogosphere as they do to print and radio/TV.

photo by Mai Le via flickr.